The rake

the modern voice of classic elegance

StyleMay 2016

Drake’s for The Rake: The Archival Textured Silk Ties


Regular readers will by now be well aware that the nature of formal dressing is changing; dress codes and conventions are softening, and the modern dresser is embracing an ever more relaxed, understated approach to his formalwear – brash colour and bold patterns are out, in favour of a restrained return to the classics – and to sophisticated use of texture and tone.

If there is one heritage brand that truly understands this, it’s contemporary British haberdasher Drake’s, a clothier that has arguably pioneered this softening of formal dress since its inception in the early 70s. Originally a scarf and tie maker, Drakes has (under the leadership of its current Creative Director Michael Hill, successor to the eponymous Michael Drake) embraced the role of unparalleled British outfitters – curating ranges of beautifully handmade and quirkily designed modern staples, from shirting to tailored jackets, workwear and specialist denim pieces.

Even so, the art of the handmade necktie remains central to what the house does, and we’re pleased to report that our latest collection of SS16 Drakes for The Rake Archive Silk Neckties is a case in point. For this collection, we worked with Drake’s to create a range of ties that we felt captured this shift in formal dress codes, ties that lent themselves to a richly textural, understated aesthetic, with a versatile, matte quality to them. There’s not a shouty silk foulard in sight, rather we’re played with the deep, slubby textures tones of shantung, linen and raw silk, to produce a range of seasonal, summery ties that are rakish in character and yet refreshingly easy to wear.

Deep greens and blues feature heavily; there are signature Drake’s shantung herringbones in navy, royal blue, olive and dark bottle green, and caramel. Additionally, there’s a fun navy and forest green bordered shantung boating stripe tie, and a subtle navy, cream and rust floral foulard for something a little more graphic. A particular favourite is the lightweight Loro Piana butter-soft wool and cashmere blue-on-blue glencheck, but there are also a couple of fun silk checks in the collection. A royal blue and silver silk jacquard Prince-of-Wales check, and The Rake’s homage to the infamous Edward VII both appear too, the latter in a fun olive, ecru, mid-blue and sunburst-yellow grenadine fancy check, which feels distinctly like something His Royal Highness would have enjoyed. All of the ties are finished with a conventional 8cm wide blade, handrolled tips and a keeper loop.

As with all Drake’s ties, they are handmade in London to the highest of standards, by the company’s long-serving artisans, passed masters in the art of tie making. Each tie is hand-cut by either Stephen or Mario, the company’s two tie-cutters, both of whom have served Drake’s for years and who know by instinct how to adjust the pattern they cut for a particular cloth; shantungs are slightly more dense for example, so require a cut which stretches a little less, whilst grenadines are a little more fragile, and need to be left with some room to move. The ties are then passed to the ‘slipper’ who lines and slip stitches each tie in such a way that the blade will have room to give and stretch a little when tied. As Michael Hill puts it, a Drakes tie ‘lives along its length’ and each tie will stretch and then contract by up to four centimetres in length as it is worn and then stored, ensuring that it stays comfortable on the neck and recovers after use.

With the slipping complete, the tips are delicately hand-rolled and the tie receives the lightest of presses to retain a wonderful fullness in the hand and it’s beguiling three-dimensionality. Quality checks are a routine part of the process, and every tie is checked repeatedly, before being submitted to one final ‘passport control’ style check, to allow it to leave the factory. The result is a tie with a unique physical form and an enduring quality that champions the skills of the British craftsman, without resorting to the unnecessary pomp and preciousness of elaborate seven-fold designs or over-complicated adornments. Rather, a Drake’s tie retains a thoroughly British sensibility, which is very much part of its charm.

What’s more, as with our previous collection of handmade Drakes neckties, this range is cut entirely from exclusive lengths of vintage cloth, pulled from Drake’s extraordinary archive and hand-picked by The Rake. What’s more, there is only two of each tie, so interested parties would do well to stake their claim sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment. Available now exclusively on The Rake Shop.


Reportage photography by Piers Cunliffe.


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Aleks Cvetkovic

Aleks is Deputy Editor at The Jackal and former staffer at The Rake. He’s long harboured a passion for fine menswear, well-timed dramatic pauses and stiff drinks.

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